Duane Edwin Champion, PhD, passed away suddenly at home in Menlo Park, California, of natural causes on Jan. 11, age 73. His family, friends and colleagues miss him terribly, but even more, they are grateful for the time spent with him.
Duane Champion was born on June 2, 1949, in Greene, New York. He spent his childhood among the area’s farms and fields, where he learned to appreciate nature and the outdoors, a love he carried for the rest of his life. After earning both his BA and MA in Geology at SUNY Buffalo, Duane moved west to earn his PhD in Geology at CalTech in 1980. While still a graduate student he joined the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park as a research geologist, and he continued his work with the Geological Survey until his passing. His study of volcanism throughout the Western United States, Hawaii and Alaska was instrumental in understanding the region’s geologic history, the risks associated with volcanoes, and the action of plate tectonics.
Devoted to work, he still always had time for family, friends and a menagerie of beloved cats, dogs and birds. A man of wide-ranging interests, Duane loved nothing more than a good chat with those close to him. Always interested in helping others, as he grew in experience and wisdom he became a mentor to many.
His first marriage, to Janet Ferrari, gifted him a stepson, John Ferrari, and a son, Kyle Champion. To them both he was a father, but also a friend, mentor and No. 1 supporter. His second marriage, to Erin Champion (née Howard) gifted him three more stepchildren: Richard Silacci, Ryan Silacci and Nicole Silacci. Duane was a steady, guiding presence through their teen years and into adulthood, and remained Erin’s rock and champion through 30 years of marriage. Duane Champion is survived by his wife; his sisters Lynne Champion, Kelly Champion and Paula Swartz; his son and stepchildren; grandchildren Joseph Ferrari, Jamie Silacci-Braziel, Janae Silacci-Dangerfield and April Silacci; and four great-grandchildren.A private burial will be held at the Santa Clara Mission Cemetery in Santa Clara, California; a memorial service will be held at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park this spring. In lieu of flowers, donations in Duane’s memory may be made to the Peninsula Humane Society & SCPA, phs-spca.org.